Chanello’s pizza, a small but popular food spot on West Broad Street frequented by residents of Richmond’s Fan District, only has good food in a three-hour span of the early morning, a new study suggests.
The pizzas, with sizes ranging from the rarely-ordered “small” to the habitually-requested “large,” were only found to have an acceptable level of tastiness from the hours of 2 a.m. to 5 a.m., researchers from Virginia Commonwealth University found.
In addition, researchers said after reviewing a group of 1,342 young Richmond residents, the pizza was most enjoyed in the early morning hours of Saturday and Sunday for the highly-coveted age 22 to 34 demographic, though younger college students were apt to order at any time – so long as that time was several hours before the sun crested the city’s eastern horizon.
Ordering “any time after that was found to be rare, and in some cases, dangerous,” said VCU psychology professor Franklin Tunstall. “The pizza can have devastating side effects that leave the esophageal tubes with an extreme burning sensation, heart palpations, cold sweats and, in many cases, severe bowel movements if ordered at normal meal-digesting hours.”
Researchers were baffled by the study’s outcome, unable to determine why such greasy, delicious food was being ordered at a time when most Americans are sleeping. “We hope to determine a probable cause in coming weeks,” Tunstall said.
Liz Stone, who lives in the 2100 block of Hanover Avenue, said she is a frequent patron of Chanello’s, though she has never – “not once” – remembered ordering it.
“That stuff is amazing, seriously. And that white sauce they give you, oh. What is that? It’s like ranch, but maybe with something more in it,” said Stone, who on a recent early morning used a streetlight outside of Buddy’s to illuminate the 16 digits of her credit card to order a large supreme for she and her roommates. “We always fight over who gets to use the sauce.”
When asked if she has ever eaten the food during normal hours, Stone said, “God no. Typically [roommate] Marjorie [Ayers] and I plow through the whole thing and the box is left on the deck. We pay for it when we wake up, though.
“If there’s anything left in the morning, we’ll feed it to the dog,” she said.
Chanello’s president Raphael Martinez said he did not find the study surprising, and that his company’s sales are split between Fan residents in the early morning hours and low-income households, at all times, in the city’s east end.
Martinez, who has led the four-store pizza chain since 2002, also did not dispute the quality of his product. “You seriously would not believe what we put in this stuff,” he said. “Don’t even ask about the sauce, but I’ll tell you now – it ain’t ranch.”
“It takes a little more than just hunger to eat our foods,” he said.
Besides the white sauce, among the top reasons consumers buy Chanello’s pizza were, according to respondents, “seriously man, I haven’t eaten anything all night,” “dude, best idea – Chanello’s,” and “it’s the only thing open but hurry ’cause I think they close at, like, 2 or something.”
The study’s margin of error was plus or minus two hours.